Brian Burch introduced Libby, mother of 21 year old Phoebe who has Down’s Syndrome and was a nominee in our Ken Wilks Awards 2 years ago.
Libby said she spoke on behalf of Down’s Syndrome Swimming Victoria. Dr Langdon Down 1st described a set of symptoms resulting from a mistake in the pairing of chromosomes at conception. These include minor intellectual disabilities, language difficulties, reduced muscle tone/strength, shorter stature, Mongolian facial features, delayed cognitive development and commonly hearing &/or sight loss. Libby has always given Phoebe rich stimulation so that she can develop to her best ability and she has supported Phoebe in her passion for competitive swimming. Phoebe is now a highly successful member of the DSSV team and has represented Australia several times in championship challenges.
Early mornings and getting Phoebe to GSC swimming training before school was always very demanding for her family. It’s extremely frustrating that she’ll never qualify for the Olympics as she is always trialled against others with intellectual disabilities (S14 level) who have no physical impairment. There is no class in the Paralympics competition to accommodate DS competitors, and a reluctance to create such a class. Libby is advocating for an S21 level just for DS competitors. Phoebe has attended the Aust. Championships since 2008 (DSDUSO) and has 13 World Records. This year the event is in Loana via Milan, Italy at a cost of $8500, for which Phoebe’s parents and others from GSC need to raise funds.